Pierce Covert

May 14, 2014

3 Min Read
The right adhesive can cut your packaging costs

Looking for a way to reduce your packaging costs? You may not need to look any further than your adhesive system. Though it’s often overlooked, your adhesive system can have a big impact on your overall packaging costs, and choosing the right adhesive is key. But how do you figure out which adhesive solution is right for your business? By formulating clear answers to the following two questions:

  1. What is the “right” adhesive for your specific packaging application?

  2. What are the packaging costs you’re trying to cut?

Defining the “right” adhesive

The first of the above questions is one that is often asked, but rarely addressed fully. That’s because the question itself is vague: To determine the “right” adhesive for your packaging application, you must formulate a definition of what a “right” adhesive means for you. To do that, you need to consider the answers to questions like:

  • What are the exact bond requirements between your substrates?

  • Do you have a peel test or shear test requirement?

  • Do you have a drop test from a certain height at a certain temperature?

  • Does the adhesive bond need to withstand particularly high or low temperatures?

  • Are there end user opening preferences that need to be considered?

  • Does your assembly process require a certain amount of “open time” or “set time”?

  • Do you require a certain percentage of fiber tear?

  • Does the package need to be “Tamper Evident” after being opened?

After fully addressing these considerations, it’s on to question two, where you’ll explore your specific packaging cost needs.

Defining “packaging costs”

“Packaging costs” mean different things to different people. For example, Client A may be talking about the actual cost of the hot melt used to properly close the package, while Client B thinks of packaging costs in terms of improving the package quality, and Client C is thinking of something else altogether. Clarifying what falls under your definition of “packaging costs” will ultimately help determine the way you reduce those costs.

Don’t be surprised when you realize that there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution. The “right” adhesive for helping you lower your packaging material costs may be different from the “right” adhesive that would allow you to effectively package at higher speeds or reduce packaging line downtime.

Want adhesive success? Test, test, test

Regardless of the specifics of your packaging applications, you’ll likely need to perform some comprehensive testing in order to find the right adhesive. You should plan on testing different adhesives, adhesive patterns and packaging materials as well as your speeds of operation and your actual application equipment capabilities. Often, tests like these have never been performed, or haven’t been reviewed in years or even decades. This type of evaluation, while it can be time-consuming and costly, is an investment in your company’s bottom line and can help you dramatically cut costs.

There is an optimal adhesive for every packaging process that will reduce packaging costs, but determining this optimal adhesive only happens after you fully and properly define your requirements.

Pierce Covert is the president of Glue Machinery Corp. which builds sells and services industrial hot melt and cold glue systems used worldwide by a wide range of manufacturers.

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